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Medical How many different diseases are there?

  1. Sep 1, 2008 #1
    I am wondering if anyone knows how many disesases have been identified/diagnosed throughout the world. I tried searching the NIH sites but, well, good god there is so much information I don't even know where to start or what search terms to use for this question! I would think that different medical bodies world-wide have differing opinions on the number of diseases there are, so any information about how the total number of diseases is arrived at would be very helpful. Thanks!
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 1, 2008 #2
    Are you looking for an exact number? I have no idea but you are welcome to be the first to count it and possibly take an average across many different databases! (which as you said, will arrive at different opinions regarding categorisation of a disease).

    As an educated guess from the ICD:
    They've managed to group everything into the alphabet A-Z, each letter with 0-99 entries.
    Thus 26 * 99 = 2178.

    I know this doesn't help at all, but I found it very amusing :
  4. Sep 1, 2008 #3
    I think I know what I'll be doing this week!

    Geez Luiz! Life's not as diseased as I thought! 2178 sounds about an order of a magnitude less than what I would have guessed. Guess there's only one way to know for sure... I'll count starting with the A's... see you all next year! :)
  5. Jan 5, 2009 #4
    hi guys,
    the WHO distinguish 12,420 disease categories in ICD-10 (2007). note this includes injuries such as knee dislocation, but not external causes of morbidity and mortality (car crash)
    (see their 'FAQ on ICD' page-
    http://www.who.int/classifications/help/icdfaq/en/index.html )
    hope you got the same number from counting 'em
  6. Feb 13, 2010 #5
    I'm wondering that too. And I want the answer to include all illnesses, disorders and injuries ie things that can go wrong. Please help me, I'm so curious!
  7. Feb 28, 2010 #6


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    Hi, Retarded Bastard,

    Have a look at this thread I posted awhile ago, https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=378303"

    I reprinted the highlights of the video below:
    You will note as of June 2004 GenBank has categorized over 22,000 disease categories based on their DNA signature. I am sure the number categorized since then has grown. I would suggest a search of the GenBank site. Please report back on what you find, I would like to know too. Good luck.

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
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